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QWP to support PML-N in Peshawar by-poll

QWP to support PML-N in Peshawar by-poll

ISLAMABAD: The Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) has decided to support the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) candidate in the upcoming by-election in Peshawar’s National Assembly constituency, NA-4.

The decision was announced by QWP chief Aftab Sherpao at a news conference after his meeting with a PML-N delegation comprising National Assembly Deputy Speaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Political Affairs Amir Muqam here on Monday.

Mr Sherpao said a delegation of the PML-N would go to his party’s candidate Niazur Rehman on Wednesday in Peshawar where he would formally announce the decision to withdraw his nomination papers.

Responding to a question, Mr Sherpao and Mr Muqam expressed the hope that the cooperation between the two parties could be a first step towards formation of a formal electoral alliance for the general elections to be held next year.

Mr Sherpao appealed to his party workers and office-bearers in the Peshawar constituency to make joint efforts with the PML-N to win the election.

Mr Muqam thanked Mr Sherpao for the support and, indirectly attacking the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), said that together they would win the election against the so-called claimants of bringing about a change. He also expressed the hope that the alliance between the QWP and PML-N would bring improvement in the politics at the provincial and national levels.

Though the PML-N has succeeded in getting the support of the QWP, a party sitting on the opposition benches in the National Assembly, it has so far failed to get the support of its ally Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F).

Before visiting the residence of Mr Sherpao, the PML-N delegation had met JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and requested him to withdraw his party’s candidate in favour of the PML-N. However, sources said, the Maulana did not agree to the proposal, and instead asked the PML-N to extend support to his party in the by-election.

The sources said the PML-N leaders in return offered the JUI-F chief a formula for the selection of the candidates for the 2018 general elections, assuring him that the party would not field its candidates in the constituencies won by the JUI-F with a clear margin in the 2013 elections. However, the sources added, the JUI-F chief sought more time for consultations within his party leaders.

Sources in the PML-N said that there was a possibility that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif might talk to the JUI-F chief to seek his party’s support in the by-election.

The NA-4 seat had fallen vacant on Aug 27 after the death of PTI’s Gulzar Khan, who belonged to Mashogagar village on the suburbs of Peshawar.

The Pakistan Peoples Party has nominated Asad Gulzar, son of the late Gulzar Khan. He recently announced joining the PPP in the presence of party’s co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari during his visit to Mr Gulzar’s residence in Hayatabad.

The PML-N has nominated Nasir Musazai. However, the annoyed PML-N workers led by Abdul Sattar Khalil, former Peshawar district president, have fielded Hikmat Khan as their candidate. The Awami National Party has nominated former deputy speaker of KP Assembly Khushdil Khan.

The PTI has given a ticket to Arbab Aamir Ayub and Jamaat-i-Islami to Wisal Farooq Jan, while Khalid Waqar Chamkani is JUI-F candidate in the by-poll.

According to the schedule announced by the Election Commission of Pakistan, the last date for the withdrawal of candidature is Oct 3, while revised list of candidates will be published on Oct 4.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2017

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